Catching Up With Jessica Reedy
I’m delighted to share my recent conversation with Saginaw, Michigan native Jessica Reedy. I’m sure you all remember Jessica as a finalist on Season 2 of BET’s Sunday Best. Well, I have to tell you that she really is the humble person that you all saw on tv. She has a very sincere personality and to say that she loves God would be an understatement. Jessica will tell anyone that she is in love with God. And, it really showed as we talked about her musical experiences. Here’s the conversation.
Mimi Soul: First, I have to congratulate you on all of your successes.
Jessica: Thank you so much.
Mimi Soul: I know we all saw you on Sunday Best, but how would you say you got your start with singing?
Jessica: I started with getting courage because I never liked singing in front of people. I would cry afterwards. My grandfather was a pastor of the family church and he would call me up to sing after he would preach. And, each time I would cry afterward because I would be embarrassed. And, I was in the school band and nobody knew I could sing until I think I was walking in the hallway somewhere and my principal heard me and he made me sing Precious Lord at one of the programs. And, I started crying again and I wouldn’t go to school for like a week because I was embarrassed.
Mimi Soul: So, which instrument did you play?
Jessica: I played the saxophone for 9 years.
Mimi Soul: Really?
Mimi Soul: Do you still play?
Jessica: I believe I can still play but I don’t play anymore. I don’t even have an instrument.
Mimi Soul: Do you still have that kinda nervous feeling before you sing?
Jessica: Oh my gosh! Before I have to sing, I go nuts. I have to calm down my insides. I have to pray. I get really cold and my hands start freezing.
Mimi Soul: So, even though you’ve probably heard lots of people tell you how good you are, it still happens?
Jessica: Oh my goodness. My mind doesn’t trigger that. If somebody says “You really did well” I’ll be like, “No, I didn’t. I was nervous.” I don’t wanna sound ungrateful. But, I can always do better. I’m my worst critic.
Mimi Soul: I know your family and friends are always going to say good things but have you had situations where strangers come up to you and say the same things?
Jessica: Yes, they do and I’ll be like, “Well, I wonder if they’re the only person out of the entire audience who thinks that.” You know how they say if it’s only one that you touch? I’ll be thinking “She must be the only one.” (laughing)
I mean, it’s me entertaining the wrong kinda thoughts because I’ll be scared and nervous. You know what really did it for me? I used to read those blogs during the show and how people used to dog me out. And, I didn’t understand it because whether I can sing or not, whether you think I can sing or not, I’m singing for God. I’m choosing to sing for the Lord and they would just be going hard on me and my feelings would be hurt.
Mimi Soul: Oh no.
Jessica: Yeah, so now I know. I’m stronger and I know that not everybody will accept how I sing. Everybody has their opinion. Honestly, God has matured me extremely fast in that element. I’m very insecure when it comes to people’s opinions and what they thought about me when it came to singing because I lost my voice while I was pregnant because I didn’t sing. And my voice got deeper. I used to be a soprano and could barely hit a real alto note. So, I was extremely insecure about my voice. And now I don’t care. Let me tell you, one person on Youtube said “Yeah she can sing but I’m glad she didn’t win Sunday Best. Her voice is too deep.” What kinda stuff is that?
Mimi Soul: I think that’s probably why we were cheering so hard for you. When you see someone on tv who is singing for God with a humble spirit, it makes you like them more. So, we picked up on it.
Jessica: Thank you Jesus. I’m glad you didn’t see my insecurities because I’m pretty transparent. I’ll tell anybody. That’s a part of my deliverance. I have to talk about it. I have a lot of insecurities that I’m getting over. And if you can help me, help. (laughing) I wasn’t trying to be all secretive and act strong when I’m weak. Let’s uplift one another; let’s help each other out.
Mimi Soul: I find sometimes that it’s the things that you’re most passionate about that you have the biggest insecurities with. When someone’s attacking the thing that you love to do, it’s like “Hey, wait a minute. That’s very hurtful.”
Jessica: You know what, I’ve come to realize that this is the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I used to sing for people’s reactions. The way I sing, a lot of times, is not one of those things where it makes you jump on your feet. A lot of times when I sing, people just tune in and listen. And I didn’t understand it. I didn’t understand why people could sit down and be staring at me while I’m up here singing my heart out. And then I realized that a lot of people are really just trying to hear me. It used to bother me and my mom told me “Well, who are you singing for? You’re delivering God’s message but you’re singing for the people. What is that?” And, now I tune them out. I don’t care. I love Jesus with all my heart and I’m gonna sing for Him. I don’t sing for people anymore. He loves me regardless; whether I crack or whether my voice is low and deep and I sound like a man. He doesn’t care. (laughing)
Mimi Soul: I think that’s a very good point because I think that overall, it’s about your relationship with God and we all should have one.
Jessica: Yeah, I love God. I’ve fallen in love with God. It’s not just an emotional thing anymore. I’ve fallen in love with God and I’m into pleasing God. I monitor what I do. I’m not perfect but that’s what the Bible is for. The Bible teaches us how to handle certain things and that’s why it’s so important to know the word because it fights your battles for you. God has been good to me. He has saved my life; changed my life. Look at this – you’re interviewing me. Why? (laughing) I ain’t nobody. This is amazing to me.
Mimi Soul: So, I gotta ask if you’ve had any “pinch yourself” moments since the Sunday Best experience.
Jessica: Definitely. The other day I was talking to my manager about an opportunity that he opened up for me and I couldn’t believe it. And, I couldn’t believe it when I was doing Bobby Jones. He came up to me and was like “Hey Jessica” and I was like “Oh my gosh” (laughing)
I don’t know how people get used to it. My reality check is when I come back home and I see my son and I remember my pregnancy. I even remember coming home after the show and not even having even a definite answer and still trying to plan out that Plan B. I was still in doubt. I didn’t even have enough faith like that. And for God to still do it; and my faith wasn’t even strong, I’m so humble and sometimes I’m at a loss for words. I don’t really know how to say it because how God has moved in my life is miraculous. Who gets to do stuff like this? God is awesome. He loves me and I love Him too.
Mimi Soul: You mentioned how your voice changed from soprano to alto. What artists would you say you listened to as your voice developed? Are there any artists that you could say actually influenced your sound?
Jessica: No, it was God. Here’s my story. If you look back at the tape, when I got on the show, the first time I sang sounded completely different than when I finished. God changed my voice while I was on the show. When I auditioned and when I sang the first day, my voice was completely different. Now, I don’t even remember how I used to sing. I can’t even sing like that. It was nothing that I was listening to; nobody I was trying to mimic.
The show was taped in two weeks. I woke up with a different voice. So, it wasn’t even like I had time to listen and learn something new. God gave me a new sound. That’s how much God loves me. He said, “They don’t think you’re gonna make it. I’m gonna change your voice.” And he changed my doggone voice (laughing). I give Him all the glory, honor and praise.
Mimi Soul: So what was your first reaction when you realized that your voice had changed?
Jessica: I didn’t realize my voice changed until I was about to get on the stage. When it came out, I didn’t know what I was gonna do. I kept thinking, “What am I about to do with Brighter Day?” I cried. I said “This is my go-home song.” My mom was down there and she said “You better get to praying because I’ve never even heard the song before.” When I got to the rehearsal, I just started hearing how it sounded in my head and I said, “Can ya’ll slow it down?” I had never arranged a song before. I never had to; I was always the background person. And I was like “Can ya’ll slow it down? Can you kinda give it a jazzy beat?” And what is a jazzy beat? I don’t listen to jazz. I don’t know where that stuff was coming from. This is the honest to God truth.
And, when I got on the stage, it came out and every time, it got better. It’s like when you catch the Holy Ghost and you start speaking in the utterance. You babble first until it becomes a clear language, a clear utterance. So, it was like that. And now I’m comfortable. Now I get it. On the show it was just a test run. And I can’t believe God was taking me far with that. I listen to that stuff and I’ll be like “Oh my gosh, I sound a mess.” (laughing)
Mimi Soul: (laughing) You must be listening to something different than what we heard.
Mimi Soul: When people listen to you sing, is there a certain influence that you really want to have on them?
Jessica: Yes. I want them to fall in love with God. People play church. They don’t consciously praise God; they just say hallelujah. They don’t consciously agree; they just say Amen because that’s church. I want them to fall in love with God. You know, God hears your thoughts so if you just think about something, that means I planted the seed. Now He’ll send somebody to water it. He’ll send somebody to talk about God to you in passing conversation and give you confirmation. That’s most important to me. I pray that people can feel my love for God and it’s just contagious.
Mimi Soul: So, when you are ready to start recording, do you think you’ll do any writing?
Jessica: Yeah, if they let me. And, if it becomes a situation that I can’t, I just pray that the songs will be something that I’ll say “I wish I wrote that.” Either way, it’s all in God’s hands. I wanna write but if I can’t, then that’s fine. I don’t mind.
Mimi Soul: What advice would you give someone as they’re trying to pursue their dreams or walk closer with God and find direction in their life? What’s the starting point?
Jessica: My life didn’t change until I got hungry for God myself; until I started seeking Him for myself and putting Him in my business. People don’t want God in their business. They think He doesn’t see stuff. Let me tell you, I was at a restaurant 2 days ago and this guy behind me was on the phone and I guess the girl he was talking to said “Oh my God” because he was like “Oh your God? God ain’t got nothing to do with this.” He didn’t want God in that conversation. (laughing)
You gotta get God in your business. Put Him all in your mix. The Bible says seek Him first. He says “I’m a jealous God. Just come to me first and I’ll bless you.” And once you start seeking God, He’ll start revealing things to you that you didn’t know. He’ll start putting something in you of assurance so you won’t keep having questions. You can’t make it on your own. Start trusting Him and talking to Him and just having a little daily conversation. I believe He just likes that kinda stuff. So that’s my word of advice. I can talk about God all the time and that’s why I talk so much.
Mimi Soul: Ok, last question. How can we keep up with you?
Jessica: Right now I’m in the process of getting my website up. And there will be all kinda updates.
Thanks Jessica for a great interview! Didn’t I tell you she was humble? I’ll keep you posted about when Jessica’s website is ready and I hope you’ll join me in watching her become a household name in gospel music for years to come.